Tempting Fate – LIVE today!


✰✰ NEW RELEASE ✰✰

Title: Tempting Fate Anthology

Authors: Maria Vickers ~ Amy Marie ~ Taylor Anhalt ~ Amy McKinely ~ JC Santo ~ Jade Royal ~ Rosie Chapel ~ Maggie Adams ~ Shannon Nemechek ~ Crystal St. Clair ~ Samatha Harris ~ Elizabeth Princeton ~ Bella Emy ~ Shelby Reeves ~ Ellie Mack ~ Jasmina Siderovski ~ Darlene Tallman

 

 

 

 

Release: June 1, 2018- Which means it’s LIVE today!!!!!!

Genres: Contemporary/NA/MM/YA Romance

Designer: Nemo Designs

Photographer: CJC Photography

Model: David Wills

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38332960-tempting-fate

Blurb:

Sometimes in life, something happens that will not only affect you, it will create a ripple effect, encompassing your family and friends. Hope will help you to overcome and survive, but your life and outlook are forever changed.

This collection of stories is about overcoming obstacles, surviving when it seems hard or impossible, and dealing with life-changing events.

 

**All proceeds will benefit Cancer Research Institute.

 

 

 

Authors:

Maria Vickers, Amy Marie, Taylor Anhalt, Amy McKinley, JC Santo, Jade Royal, Rosie Chapel, Maggie Adams, Shannon Nemecheck, Crystal St. Clair, Samantha Harris, Elizabeth Princeton, Bella Emy, Shelby Reeves, Ellie Mack, Jasmina Siderovski, Darlene Tallman

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://a.co/aYsS1M3

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2GUq0qN

Amazon CA: http://a.co/gGFrLh7

Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/4gtK6ky

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2Hw67Yi

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2GVK9kA

Universal Link for everything else: https://www.books2read.com/u/3nOdM5

 

This has been an amazing project and I am blessed to be included in this! Thank you, Maria Vickers, for all that you’ve done,  Thank you to David Wills – your foreword summed it up beautifully, Thank you, TA Black – it looks beautiful inside, Thank you Shannon Nemecheck for the beautiful cover! 

If you have preordered, your book should download today.  IF you haven’t,  then buy it now! ALL proceeds go to Cancer Research Institute.

Please leave a review after reading to let us know what you think.  If you feel you can’t leave an honest good review, please contact me, or one of the authors to tell us why.

I received an ARC copy of this book for review,  and my review is on Amazon –  5 STARS!

Thank you!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Advertisements

Who’s Who In Mackworld


Welcome readers to Week 18 of the MFRW Blog hop.

Week 18: How I work up Character/Setting Profiles.

 

How do I “do” characters and setting?

You really want to get into this? Surely there are better things to discuss, like plot points, the beach, coffee. 

*waits for MFRW to change their minds* 

NO?  OK, well this isn’t going to be pretty.  You might want to grab a rain poncho or something.

Characters:

My characters come to my mind, as if they had popped into the office and made a request. Imagine that you are the receptionist for a small company and a woman comes in.

“Good afternoon, how may I help you?” My fingers move from the keyboard to grab the pen and notepad.

She looks around nervously. “I have an appointment with Mr. McDaniels for ten.”

“Please fill out these forms.”

I pass the clipboard across the counter to the woman as I open a new client screen. When she returns the clipboard,  I enter her name, address, the reason for visit, and any other pertinent information. I begin to process what I’ve entered and then it gets weird. It’s like I trade places with the “boss” whether he’s a private eye, a counselor, or a physician. The character then tells me the details of her visit.

As she tells me what’s going on and what her concerns are,  I begin to learn who she is.

Now, in reality, I may be working at the day job.  I may be doing housework or I might be driving in the car. All of this goes on inside my brain until I can get to a point where I can sit down and start jotting thoughts down. A friend gave me a character development worksheet that I fill out, but to be honest it’s only partially filled out before the story fully develops.

I’ve said before that I am a plotter –  I have been using the W method that the wonderful Karen Docter taught me. This gives me a basic outline that I can fill in the important scenes in between the 9 major plot points. This still allows the freedom to “pants it” while I am making my first draft.

Usually as I am learning my character,  the details on setting come out from their first “visit”.

I have had some characters come to me fully developed and practically begging me to write their story, and then others seem a little shy and I have to play twenty questions to dig the information out of them.

Bran, the brother in Kiss of the Dragon came to me fully developed, showing up in my “office” stark naked, fully muscled, demanding my full attention RIGHT NOW.   Unfortunately,  I was really green when I did the draft of that one during nano and it needs major revisions, which is why it’s still in the files.

Julia from Red Wine & Roses was the shy one.  She was hesitant to talk about herself.  I had to pry the information from her while Derek wanted to talk inside my head for hours. Great dude,  shut up while I find out about Julia!

Settings: As I learn the character and their story,  the setting becomes clearer. Whether it’s the town they are in, the state, or a small little convenient mart, it’s part of them, part of their story.

I know it would make more sense to make up characters by sitting down and deciding OK, this one will be a male,  dark hair, beard no wait a goattee,  blue eyes, a scar above his brow, thin lips, tats on his arms and chest, a scar on his thigh. Let’s say he got the scars from a car accident. Let’s call him Joe.  It doesn’t always work that way. By the way,  this is the description of a character for a piece that I’ve been working on in the background, kind of a pshycho-thriller. If you are judging by appearances you might think he’s the antagonist but he isn’t. He’s sort of an antihero. but I don’t have my W worked out, or what his goal is, or his end game. We just met a few weeks ago, so I don’t even know his name yet.

Nathan’s story unfolded quickly. It was like I was a fly on the wall watching his story unfold like a movie behind my eyes if that makes sense.

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to Preorder your copy of Tempting Fate: Charity Anthology today!

You can go to the blog hop and check out what other authors have to say about this by clicking on MFRW BLOG HOP.

Write on my friends, write on!

Love In Its Many Splendid Forms


Welcome readers to Week 17 of the MFRW Blog hop.

This weeks prompt is: Favorite Romance Genre to Read or Write.

I started five times to do last week’s prompt and walked away with it unposted. Last Friday was my anniversary date for diagnosis and I was an emotional wreck.

Sorry guys,  I tried but just couldn’t seem to string together cohesive thoughts.

However, today is a new day and this week – I got this! I can sum this whole blog post up in one sentence:

My Favorite Romance Genre to Read or Write is a satisfying romance with a happy ending.

What do you mean that isn’t a genre? Yes, it is.

AHEM> It seems management is not happy with my answer so let me expound. (Like you didn’t think I would?  Is this your first time here????)

Favorite Romance Genre to Read:

I have read everything from Steeple Hill Christian romance to Triple X erotica and everything in between.  I have read Historical Romance and some I greatly enjoy like Lynn Kurland – I love her world and how her characters all link together. Ms. Kurland’s books often involve time travel to a previous century. She also has some about ghosts. Outlander is an Historical Romance as well as time travel. If you have not read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series – from start to finish at least once,  then how can you call yourself a romance fan???

I know that most everyone expects Nora Roberts to be at the top of a romance fan’s list, but I have to be honest. Meh!  I like some of her older stuff. The Reef had me turning pages! Key of Knowledge, Key of Valor – I liked those. Rising Tides and that series was awesome. The series – sorry I can’t remember the titles – about the Irish brothers and sister, those were phenomenal. But, in my humble opinion, her stories just got too formulaic for me. No, I have not read her work as JD Robb.

I can’t talk about romance without my favorites – Katie McAlister always has number one position. It doesn’t matter which book, I love her sense of humor whether it’s a contemporary or paranormal. Trust me, I’ve read them all.  One day I will have an autographed book from her.

My second favorite is Karen Marie Moning’s  Highlander series. Love those Scots! Then, of course, we get into The Black Dagger Brotherhood, Christine Feehan and of course we can’t leave off Charlaine Harris. I mean after all, who doesn’t love a southern vamp?

I’ve read many Indy authors as well as mainstream. I am a diehard Jane Austen fan since high school. Sherrilyn Kenyon, Catherine Coulter, Karen Docter, and Gena Showalter’s Darkest series all have high marks from me.

I prefer traditional male-female romances. I tend to reread authors I liked, hence the list above.  Many times I’ve perused the shelves and had three or four in my hand,  then selected two out of those for purchase – one from an author I’ve read before and a new author. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many Harlequin romances I read. Some were good some were meh and some were really bad.

To me, the most satisfying romance story is one that meets the happily ever after ending.

Ironically, Katie McAlister’s Aisling Grey series aren’t HEA, but I adore them.

I have to mention here another favorite, Louise Rennison. When my daughters were in their early teens,  we picked up the first of her books –  Angus Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging.

I About Died from laughing so hard!

Ms. Rennison’s books are teen romances, full of angst, melodrama, and hilarious hijinks. If you haven’t read them  – DO IT! Everyone needs a good laugh! The only other book that I laughed as hard was Katie McAlister’s Corset Diaries.

As to writing, so far I’ve written contemporary romance but this next one that I am working on, which is actually written and now in revisions, is a paranormal romance.

I don’t think I could write a historical romance,  you have to be such a stickler for details.  I greatly enjoy reading them,  but I don’t get all hung up on whether they have twenty-six buttons down the back or a tie string on their pantaloons,  and oh wait, they didn’t wear pantaloons beneath their dressed at that time. I’m more interested in the interactions between the hero and heroine, and what happens between them whether it ends with a first kiss or full disclosure details that you feel like you need a smoke afterward;  and I don’t smoke!

All of my books have an element of romance,  although romance isn’t the main focus of this next one. The basic desire in each of us for companionship, passion, desires, and to have someone who loves us unconditionally, I believe is a very real driver for the vast majority of us. Fans of romance get that when they read our books.

We can experience vicariously the rollercoaster ride of falling in love, heartbreak, restoration, danger, mayhem, terror, and satisfaction without leaving the safety of our living room. Isn’t that the root of all successful books?

What subgenres in romance do you like to read?

Mine, right???  RIGHT??? 

Well, if you haven’t read mine yet,  here’s a little bargain for you to try them! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can go to the blog hop and check out what other authors have to say about this by clicking on MFRW BLOG HOP.

Write on my friends, write on!

5 Authors I’d Like to Meet


Happy Friday! It’s time for the MFRW 52 week blog hop for 2018!

Welcome to week 6: 5 Authors I’d Like to meet (dead or alive).

Mark Twain –  I was greatly inspired by Mark Twain when I was younger, and after visiting Hannibal, Missouri I was even more motivated. For a man who wrote sagacious wit,  he lived a tragic life. It makes me realize how much we often take for granted and motivates me to do better. I would love to sit down over a cup of coffee or tea with him and ask a million questions and let him regale me with his sardonic humor.

J.R.R. Tolkien – To get inside his head! Oh my, can you just imagine?? Where did he get the ideas for . . . (fill in the blank) What inspired specific characters?  Did he write linear? Did he write chronologically? Who did he feel influenced him?

Anne McCaffrey – The queen of all things dragon! Oh to discuss her dragon world would be amazing!

Katie McAlister – I would LOVE to sit down over lunch and talk shop with this amazing woman. I adore her sense of humor, her writing style and OK, it would probably have to be a full day’s worth because I would fangirl her so hard for the first several hours. SQUEAL!!!!   Seriously though,  I would love to meet her in person.

Chatty Chicks (Cathy Brockman, Vicki Locey, Misty Harvey, Amity Riles, and Emily Joy Grace Thompson! These women have kept me writing when I was so close to throwing in the towel numerous times.  They have shared my ups and downs.  They’ve offered a cyber shoulder to cry on, a cyber party to share our victories, and numerous hours of writing sprints! We would need a supply of coffee and cocoa, maybe some biscuits to snack on and several hours to visit in person. (OK, technically this is more than 5, but there is no way I could pick one of my chatty chick sisters and not the others, it’s a package deal!)

On a similar note, last year at Penned Con I got the chance to meet Angie Fox! I’ve adored her for years. When I found out she was a local St. Louisan, I hoped that some day I could meet her and I DID!!! By the way, she’s just as amazing in person. I hope I didn’t emberass her by fangirling her. I tried to act cool, but you know how it is, right?  I don’t think I could have been any less cool if I had met Jensen Ackles in person. GAH!!!

Go check out what the other authors are saying in this blog hop. You can find their links here:

MFRW 52 Week Challenge

Write on my friend, write on!

What Awaits in 2018? #MFRW


Week 52 – the last, final post for 2017 blog challenge.

Colorful fireworks over a night sky

I gave up on New Year’s Resolutions several years ago,  but I do set goals for myself for the coming year. What’s the difference? A resolution is something you hope happens.  A goal, a smart goal is something you set for yourself with a specific framework and a deadline.

This past year – 2017 my goals were as effective as resolutions. Why? CANCER.

I’ll admit, I didn’t see that one coming.  I let it derail me. I was shocked, stunned, reeling from the diagnosis. Then the whirlwind of prompt action from the doctors had my head spinning. The only time doctors act swiftly is when it’s a serious matter,  so I felt an additional stress imagining the worst –  what if it was stage 4, what if it had metastasized, what if . . .  but it wasn’t the case. THANK GOD, mine wasn’t nearly as bad as some. Praise the Lord –  it was found early.

The point is though,  they were swift in all their actions and then rushed me to treatment. I barely had time to think. It was the next appointment, the next treatment.  I lost control of my life from March through August.

In August, I evaluated where I was in comparison to the goals I had set for myself and cried. Seriously,  I just sat there crying for nearly an hour before I decided to do something about it. Then I looked at what I could do and pushed myself to get Roxy completely revised so that I would have at least one book for Penned Con.

I did manage to lose some weight, although the goal I had set for myself was 50 pounds,  I have lost 46 pounds. Still a win! (It was a 48 but I had extra portions over the holidays.)

From September through now, it’s been a difficult battle with dropping pounds as the medication that I have to take is known to cause weight gain. In addition to my slow fat storing metabolism,  I now have an additional obstacle, but I’m winning, slowly!

I had set a goal for myself to read 100 books this year, didn’t make that one.  I have read 25. Most of those have been hard copy print books. The ability to focus was lost during treatments. Chemo brain is a very real thing. So, I’m cutting myself some slack and counting this as a win as well because I have managed to read most of those since August.

What about 2018?

What goals will I set for myself this coming year?

  1. Publish 5 books in 2018: Valkyries Curse: The Awakening, Book 2: Trial of Aegir, and Realm WArs book 1 –  I haven’t decided on a title for that one yet. This is the precursor to Faere Warrior: Passion’s Price – which has been finished for ages,  but held back because my former media coach advised me to write the prequel first. In addition,  the release of The Blood Key in a fantasy anthology, then I will release in paperback in September. And one other one – I may have to do a poll with my readers to see which one they are more interested in because I can’t decide.
  2. Continue with healthy eating and lose 40 more pounds.
  3. MOVE! We plan to move closer to where my husband works because now he commutes for an hour each way. I have discovered one major flaw in our moving plans,  they don’t have a community pool in that area, so my aquacize classes will be gone. My solution?  We need a pool of our own! (You like how I worked that in there?  You think I could maybe get a tax write off for medical therapy??)
  4. Finally get my office! We’ve been through this before, I’ve worked hard to clean an area in the basement, shared pictures on here then it was promptly taken over for another use. Can’t even tell you how pissed off it made me. Then with cancer, I honestly didn’t have the energy to fight it.
  5. Enjoy living! Carve out time to spend with ones I love and care about, do the things I enjoy, have some fun in life! This will become a priority because I am prone to get overwhelmed with all the things that should happen that I forget to enjoy everyday life. Stress less and live more!

That’s it. Those are my goals for this next year. Not a twenty point bulletin of overachiever perfection. Not a ten point attack on every area of my life. Not even a 12 month, 12 item list of things I’d like to see happen. Simple, basic, achievable yet challenging goals that will improve our quality of life.

Cancer changes things.  It really made me see how much time I waste on fretting over things that don’t really matter, conceding on things that do matter to me, and wishing I had more time for what really matters –  the people in our lives.

What about you? What are your 2018 goals and dreams? Not going to say resolutions, because we blow those before the end of January!

You can find the other authors participating in this blog hop HERE!

This post is included in the prize drawing for the flash fiction fest –  so leave your comment!  All commenters are entered in drawing for this week’s prizes. (See post yesterday for the list of prizes, I don’t feel like typing it in yet again!) All entries will be put through randompicker and the winner will be selected!

Best wishes to each of you, and have a Happy New Year!

Write on my friends, write on!

A Word of Advice #MFRW


Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have some author friends who have joined me in this challenge, and are contributing to the prize baskets!

This week’s prize basket:

  • $5 Amazon gift card
  • Free e-book for Red Wine & Roses, contemporary romance
  • Swag bag
  • e-book of What We’ve Unlearned: English Class Goes Punk (The Writerpunk Project Book 4)
  • e-book of Holiday Fling, contemporary romance

This is how the prize giveaway will work:

Leave a comment throughout the week on any blog post, whether it’s the blog hop, flash, guest spot, or weekend writing warriors. I will select one of the commenters through Randompicker and post it on Monday’s post ( or rather Tuesday as it’s been lately, since my internet connection has been sketchy.) That person can contact me on Facebook or email me at: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com.

The challenge is to write a flash piece, 500 to 1000 words based on a Holiday tune as a prompt. The author was given the option to select their own or I would assign one. Trust me,  my list of holiday tunage is anything but traditional!

So, even though this isn’t a flash feature,  any comments will still count towards the prizes.

MFRW blog hop week 51 – Advice for new authors. Just one more week to go!

What advice would you give newbies? What advice do you wish that others would have given you when you were a newbie?

Those are the two main questions that I ‘ve been contemplating for this post.  I have to admit, it took a bit of contemplating to decide which tidbits to share. A couple of pots of coffee, a few oatmeal cookies – sugar-free of course, to dunk in my coffee, and my trusty notepad to jot down what came to my mind.

These are the three bits of advice that I wish someone would have shared with me. I hope it helps you if you are an aspiring author.

  1. Decide what you want to write. What genre do you feel comfortable with? What length of work do you feel comfortable with?

There are other options for a writer besides book-length novels. When I first began writing,  I wrote articles for magazines, and for a column in our local paper. The short 1000 word articles rolled off my fingers with minimal effort. But, my dream was to be a published author like my idol Katie McAlister. It is difficult to make myself focus on longer length works,  but oh so satisfying to hit ‘the end’.

2. Schedule time for your writing. Make it a priority. If you write whenever you have time,  you’ll find everything in the world crowding out your writing time. Make an appointment with yourself and KEEP IT! Just as if it were a doctor’s appointment. IF this is what you really want, then make your goals a priority!

3. Stick to one project at a time! (Best advice I ever got from my friend Vicki Locey! Thank you, Vicki!) I’m the world’s worst at having too many irons in the fire, with multiple books in the works. It wasn’t until I made myself focus on one project and stick with it to completion that I got my books published. Notice,  that completed does not mean published. I have five books that are completed but need revisions and editing before they are publishable.  It’s ok to jot down ideas for new stories while you work on your current WIP. FOCUS is a key factor to success as an author. I have to admit my ADD tendencies fight me on this point. I made myself a system of rewards for tackling the current WIP first, before anything else. For instance, when I have my writing time, lately has been in the afternoons because of doctor appointments, I set my timer, and write until the timer goes off. Now I may get up and get a cup of coffee or cocoa,  or run to the bathroom, but during that time I write. Most days I manage about 1200 words. Then I reward myself. Maybe it’s coloring in my planner, it’s one of those adult coloring book planners. Maybe I play a game for a bit or jot down notes for another story. If time allows or if I am really in the zone, I may work on writing for a longer period of time.

If you can master those three things, you are well on your way to success!

You can read other participating authors HERE.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

That’s A Win!


Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have a few author friends who have joined me in this challenge and are contributing to the prize baskets!

 

This week’s prize basket:

  • $5 Amazon gift card
  • ebook for Red Wine & Roses
  • Author Swag bag
  • ebook of Protected By His Grace by Grace Augustine

This is how the prize giveaway will work:

Leave a comment throughout the week on any blog post, whether it’s the blog hop, flash, guest spot, or weekend writing warriors. I will select one of the commenters through Randompicker and post it on Monday’s post. The winner can contact me on Facebook or email me at: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com.

I apologize for not getting it posted on Monday, it’s been a rough couple of days.

The challenge is to write a flash piece, 500 to 1000 words based on a Holiday tune as a prompt. The author was given the option to select their own or I would assign one. Trust me,  my list of holiday tunage is anything but traditional!

I am still posting for the MFRW blog hop on Fridays and the WEWRIWA on Sundays. The comments on those posts count as well!

MFRW blog hop week 50 – My Biggest  Accomplishment.

You know,  just when I think I got this in the bag,  they throw a wrench into my gears.

Uh, give me a few minutes to figure this one out.  Have a cup of coffee, a few snacks while I fish out the wrench.

I was going to post this animated short about a guy trying to fix an engine and tossing all sorts of parts around,  but then I saw Harry and well. . . I’m partial.

~~~~~~~

I think that my biggest accomplishment, pertaining to being an author was getting my first book published. It was the barrier that I just couldn’t seem to break through, then a small print publisher showed interest in me. I was over the moon ecstatic!

I’ve learned a lot about the business of writing, about publishing, marketing – got a lot more to learn on the marketing front. I will always be grateful that they published me!

Fast forward, the small publishing house and I have parted ways, and I’ve published 2 more books.  Most of what I learned through this experience, helped me have the confidence to publish the others. There is definitely some satisfaction in each one,  but getting past that first barrier . . . well, I spent years submitting my work to multiple publishers, large houses and small, and I was on the verge of quitting and shelving my dreams permanently.

In my personal life, you already know what I’m going to say. You knew it was coming so I’m just going to lay it out there –  I beat cancer! So far! I am 7 months cancer free, but they won’t say a survivor until you’ve been clear for 3 years.  I have 2 years and 5 months to go! This year has changed my life profoundly, it would take an entire year to tell you every aspect that has been affected by this diagnosis.

It helped me sort my priorities.  I made myself a priority – something that was foreign to me as a mom and caregiver. I had neglected me for many years. I made my health a priority.  I’ve lost 42 pounds so far this year. I guess there is hope that I might squeeze in a few more for the year, but I count that as a win also.  I eat a healthy diet now that is cancer patient friendly. Very limited in carbs, zero sugar, (not counting fruit –  I eat fresh fruit), and packed full of phytonutrients.

My skin is clearer than it has been for years.  My hair,  well I have hair, hallelujah!  It’s a different look for sure,  but . . . I’m cancer free.

This picture was taken in 2015 at my sister’s wedding. Doesn’t the hubs look sexy as hell in a suit????  We both clean up pretty good on occasion.

 

 

This was the back. I miss my long hair.

 

 

 

 

 

Then cancer treatment took over my life:

Still adjusting to this new look. Sorry for the no makeup shock – I guess there should have been a warning!

OH, and if you were wondering what to get me for Christmas,  ear muffs, sock caps, hats, and those crochet bands that cover ears would be great! I’m not used to my ears being exposed. I don’t know how guys do it!

I’m exercising regularly.  Not running marathons or anything super strenuous,  I’m doing an aquacise class and loving it.  45 minutes of cardio a day for four to five days a week. It was one of the things recommended for cancer patients,  that is easy on the joints.  I haven’t talked about it too much,  but the tamoxifen causes joint pain.  There are days I’m nearly in tears. It’s a constant reminder for me to drop the excess weight and continue on a healthy road and to eat right.

I’ve eliminated environmental toxins from our home, from our food, from anywhere that I can control. I don’t eat processed foods – no sausage, bacon or anything with carcinogens. No lunchmeats, hot dogs, bologna, processed cheese, or Doritos. ( Yeah, I even gave up my Doritos.) I don’t eat the processed cereal, prepackaged anything.  The closest to processed that we get is an occasional splurge by buying chicken strips from the deli.

I’m making meditation, prayer time, mental health a priority to reduce stress. I spend a lot of my time driving back and forth to lymphedema therapy and doctors appointments. I have good music in the car that is relaxing to me, as well as audiobooks.

I’m making my goals and dreams a priority and not pressuring myself with ridiculous schedules. I see some authors bragging about running on the frazzled edge all of the time. They have more books out than me,  but you know what? I’m at peace.

I can do what I can do,  and do my best every day. Somedays my best is managing to get to appointments, maybe get  100 words down, a little bit of housework done. Somedays I can go 90 to nothing for a short time. Then there are those days when I can manage to feed myself and have my wits about me.  I have learned to accept that on those days I need rest.  On those days, I can’t push.

I have learned to take care of me.  When I am at my best,  then I can give out to others and be a blessing to them. But if I am depleted,  I have nothing to give.

I think I have to change my biggest accomplishment –  it’s not getting my first book published, it’s learning to take care of myself so that I can be a blessing to others.

Call me a sentimental sap if you will. I’ve learned a lot this past year. Being the true strong-willed person and blockhead,  I had to learn it the hard way. Lessons learned the hard way are not soon forgotten!  I can honestly say that I have a better quality of life than I did before the cancer diagnosis.

Now if I could just say the same for the state of my home. Maybe I’ll tackle the clutter for a bit before I start wrapping gifts.

What would you say that your biggest accomplishment is?  As always, you can find the other MFRW blog hop participants HERE.

Write on my friends, write on.

Secret Recipes and Family Favorites


This week’s MFRW blog hop post  – week 49 – A Favorite Recipe.

Being a lifelong foodie, my recent dietary changes have eliminated a lot of my favorites. It’s hard to choose just one, so I will give you a few categories.

Sherri’s Secret Salad – a lady at our church  (Sherri) prides herself on this salad. Everyone loves it, including me.  She has sworn the recipe to secrecy so that you will buy the bottled dressing from her. The funny thing is,  I wasn’t aware of that when I first tasted her salad and copied it. I can generally figure out a recipe by taste most of the time. I figured it out pretty closely, but alas it has sugar in the dressing so I have to figure out something else.

Salad base:

  • romaine lettuce, chopped
  • red onion, sliced very thin
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced in halve
  • iceburg lettuce, chopped ( I prefer to use buttercrunch myself)
  • cucumber, peeled, chopped
  • carrot shreds
  • shredded cheddar

The dressing:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Italian dressing bottled
  • 1/4 cup wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 TBSP additional Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Combine dressing ingredients, whisk together and pour over salad. Toss gently and serve. Guess it’s not a secret anymore,  but I can’t guarantee that is exactly the recipe she follows.

Yeast rolls – I make homemade yeast rolls every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas and occasionally other times in the year. I can’t have any,  but I still make them for the family. White bread more than other bread sends my blood sugar soaring, so I have to bypass. There is just something satisfying about kneading bread.  I follow the Betty Crocker recipe in an old tattered book that I received as a wedding present 32 years ago! I’m sure you can find it online, look up dinner rolls.

Rosemary and garlic potatoes – again, one of my favorites but I can’t do potatoes anymore because it affects my blood sugar. (Another thing I can thank cancer for!)

Super simple –

  • red potatoes  – scrub them, cutting out eyes and any bad spots.
  • yellow onion – cut into coarse chunks and separate.
  • rinse in cold water.
  • Put into large bowl and drizzle generously with olive oil.
  • Add 1 tsp salt or sea salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp minced garlic
  • one stem of rosemary leaves, rake leaves off of stem from tip to base. Fresh is best,  the dried is like eating twigs.

Roast in oven at 375 for about 40 minutes.

Lasagna – I’ve often had requests for my lasagna. I don’t have some guarded family secret.  I use ingredients from Aldi – the secret is in the seasoning.

Find the Betty Crocker recipe online – when you make your meat sauce, add a little more garlic,  some additional Italian seasoning,  and fresh basil. If there’s any secret,  that is it. Basil is amazing.

Tonight, in fact, I am making lasagna. However, since pasta is on my no-no list, I am making zucchini lasagna. This is tricky to an old-fashioned pasta fiend such as me.

Instead of lasagna noodles, buy 3 to 4 zucchini. You can peel or leave the skin on – your choice.  I peeled mine so it wasn’t such a shock to the family. Cut the stem end and bottom end off. Slice lengthwise into thin strips, so you have long skinny lasagna “noodles”. Have your pan of boiling water at a full boil before dropping them in, and you only want to parboil them, then drain on a paper towel. Otherwise, they end up mushy and the only thing worse than mushy is gooey.

Everything else is the same in the recipe, except I omit the pinch of sugar I normally add to my marinara. Add a little parsley to cut down on indigestion if needed.

I’ve only tried this with the lasagna once before, so let’s hope that it works!

My all-time favorite dessert – brownies, just aren’t’ the same without sugar. I’m still searching for a palatable sugar-free alternative. I’ve tried a dozen or so paleo, sugar-free, carb free, and otherwise craptastic recipes. Most have ended up in the trash.

So, since you, my wonderful readers aren’t restricted to a no sugar diet, I will share the full recipe that I have always used. This recipe has won baking contests!

Best Brownies

(I usually double this)

Ingredients

  •  1/2 cup butter (real butter not margarine)

Frosting:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

To Make Frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons softened butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. Stir until smooth. Frost brownies while they are still warm. 

 

As this is a blog hop, there are many other authors who are participating.  You can check them out HERE: when I scheduled this,  the list wasn’t up yet so hopefully you will be able to go there and get the fresh list.

What’s your favorite recipe?

Remember to leave a comment to be entered into the prize drawing for the week!

 

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

There’s a Hole in My Bucket


This week’s MFRW blog hop post  – week 48 – 5 Things on My Bucket List.

First, I have a couple things to say before we dive in.  I am so grateful to my friend Cathy Brockman, for sharing this blog hop. At a time when I was at my lowest low, thinking I may not survive the breast cancer, this blog hop kept calling to me to get back to writing. Yes, I’m well aware that I can be overly dramatic. My father called me on that one back when I was like six. Anyway, it may sound silly but this blog hop, even though I missed several months for a while, kept calling me back. I have met ( online ) a great group of authors associated with this blog and read their blogs.  I don’t always leave comments, but I read them.

The Bucket List is something that became all too real to me during that time. Focus on what’s important and let the rest go. I had to keep reminding myself of the four agreements, specifically do your best every day.  Some days my best was get to radiation, eat something, and sleep.  That was it.  Cancer treatment is different for each individual and for me,   fatigue was a constant.

It is still a long road to recovery, but I’m getting there!

Now, on to 5 Things On My Bucket List.

  1. Publish 20 of my books. I have a huge file of partially completed and completed stories that I have been clinging to, reluctant to release my babies. Then what did I write them for? Why do I write in the first place?  To entertain others. How is anyone going to enjoy them when they are squirreled away in a locked file?
  2. Decorate my home the way I want!  I spent many years, trying to pease my mother, trying to win the approval of my mother in law.  I spent so long trying to fit in with everyone else,  I didn’t put things on my wall that I like. Currently,  we have very little on the walls. I can’t really use the excuse of we just painted because we painted over 5 years ago. I need to minimize the clutter in my home and organize, and put up minimum decorations in this house, in order to sell.  But when we move, Katy Bar the Door! I’ve got some great ideas saved on Pinterest.
  3. Travel!!! Nova Scotia, Western Caribbean, Hawaii, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Venice, Rome, Australia – not sure I want to go to the outback and experience the wildlife like black mambas – crikey! There are places in the US that I haven’t been to yet, and I want to go. The Badlands, Grand Canyon, and many others!
  4. Be the Keynote Speaker at an Author Event. Someday. I have done public speaking before,  that’s not the challenge.  The challenge is to do it for other writers. It will be so much more fun than speaking of scientific type stuff.
  5. MY OWN OFFICE!!!!  Let me clarify, my own home office. If you’ve read last week’s post about the office you will understand. And here is where we have the hole in the bucket.

 

There are many more items on my revised bucket list, but I know you have better things to do than stay here reading.  In fact,  why don’t you share something off of your bucket list in the comments.  Come on, do it!  Just one item, you can do that right?

As this is a blog hop, there are many other authors who are participating.  You can check them out HERE: when I scheduled this,  the list wasn’t up yet so hopefully you will be able to go there and get the fresh list.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

Wanted: One Home Office


Once again, it’s time for the Marketing for Romance Writers yearlong blog hop. For  week 47, the writing prompt is:

My Writing Space

Oh boy! Talk about a sore subject with me, this would be it. For any of you who have followed my blog for some time,  you may recall a couple of my posts about an office. Here are a couple: Personal Space, Space Revisions, and The Countdown Has Begun. In the last one, I shared my color scheme for my office area.

The best-laid plans. . . alas, I still don’t have an office.

I spent hours cleaning out the area in the basement that would become my office.

This is the space in the basement that I cleared out. The first photo is from the file cabinet to the outer wall, the second one is from the point just behind the child’s rocker. 

 

 

 

I moved everything off of the bookshelf,  had the entire area cleared out, floors mopped, spider webs vacuumed. Then my husband filled the area with items from auctions for resale. What was supposed to be a small area from the deep freeze to the table against the wall ended up filling the entire area.

As you can see from my rough sketch plan, the area where the table is behind a wall of backed storage shelves was supposed to be for sorting, cleaning, repairing, and tagging items for resale and repurposing. I was not a happy camper. Still not, in regards to my office. By the way,  that’s 1200 square feet of space in the basement. You’d think a small area for an office wouldn’t be such a deal.

I don’t understand why every single time that I ask for or prepare an area for me to have my own space to work it becomes a battle. I still have my color scheme and decor picked out for the office space, but it won’t be in this house.

This is my color scheme. Beachy/coastal with Bermuda blue, dark blue accents, tan/beige (sand) walls with black accents and flooring that resembles the weathered wood of a pier.

We plan to move closer to where my husband is employed and one of the few demands that I am going to make is my own office.  I don’t care if it’s the smallest room in the house I WILL have an office.

Currently,  my writing area consists of one end of our kitchen table and my papers and notebooks are stacked on a small side table that is against the wall.   It is a mess! I need to go through my stack and refile things,  discard other things, sort the  tax info from my notes and all of that other filing stuff that needs to happen.

I do have an office for my job as an MLO. It doesn’t have any internet connection and is strictly for meeting with clients and closings.

It has purple sparkly walls! Not a purple fan myself, but I’m making the best of it. Apparently, the business that was there before me was a massage therapist.

The purple drapes over the door have been replaced with white sheer curtains, and soon to be thicker white drapes as the weather is cooler and it gets cold by that door!  My desk sits by the two outlets, along with a two drawer file cabinet. I’ve added a bit of decor as well as the obligatory licenses and documents that have to be displayed. I did take some photos with my desk in place, but the images didn’t turn out very well.

So, when I am desperate for no distractions,  I can take my laptop or notebooks to my office for some peace and quiet. Most of the time though, I write from our kitchen table.

One of these days I am going to knock your socks off and share images from a bonafide home office suitable for an author.  Sometimes I wonder if it’s that the hubs still thinks this is a glorified ego trip and expensive hobby – his words. Maybe that’s the underlying issue of why I can’t seem to get my own office space. I don’t know,  but it’s going to change. There aren’t many demands that I ever make but I’m about to make two –  my own office space and a main floor laundry area. Unless my office is in the basement, then the basement laundry area is acceptable. If that is how it turns out,  the office will be finished before we move in. PERIOD.

I’ve waited patiently. I’ve been not as patient.  It’s to the point that we’re about to rumble and I always win – partly because I don’t play fair. I fight to win and I will fight for my own office.

There better be offerings for appeasement left near my writing area now that I’ve been reminded of how long it has been since I worked so hard to clear out that area only to have it snatched away from me. Not a happy camper here. Not at all.

I’m sure the other authors in this blog hop aren’t as sensitive about their offices. They probably have offices! Go check their offices out and share some design tips since I have more time to plan my decor.  Look out Pinterest, here I come!

Write on my friends, write on!